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The timely release of the Osama tape four days before Americans go to the voting booths should come as no surprise.
Osama has been a central theme of the election campaign. The Bush administration has been preparing public opinion for the eventuality of a terrorist threat prior to the November 2 elections.
Osama tapes have emerged periodically since 9/11 at critical "political moments". Moreover, since 9/11, there have been six code orange "high risk" terror alerts. Often associated with these and other terror alerts, a mysterious Al Qaeda, Osama or Al Zarqawi tape emerges.
The Bush administration has in fact intimated on several occasions that a terror attack on America could take place prior to the elections. It had even set in motion formal procedures for canceling the elections in the case of a code Red terror alert.
(see Bush Administration "Guidelines" for Postponing or Canceling the November Presidential Elections July 2004 http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO407C.html )
Last Christmas, Sec. Tom Ridge announced that a second 9/11 was imminent: "the near-term attacks will either rival or exceed the 9/11 attacks".
"You ask, 'Is it serious?' Yes, you bet your life. People don't do that unless it's a serious situation." (Donald Rumsfeld).
(See Bush's Christmas Terror Alert, 24 December 2003, http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO312D.html )
What interests does the release of the Osama tape serve?
How does the Osama tape affect the election campaign? How will it affect the voting and electoral procedures on November 2nd?
Bush desperately needs Osama. In fact both candidates in the presidential race need Osama. Without Osama, there is no "war on terrorism" and without the war on terrorism, there is no justification for war and homeland security, which are central to the election platform of both Bush and Kerry.
What will Happen on Election Day?
On Saturday October 30th, President Bush together with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, who had accompanied him on the campaign trail to Columbus, Ohio, held a video conference with senior intelligence and homeland security officials including Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, CIA Director Porter Goss and his deputy John McLaughlin. Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller as well as White House Counterterrorism advisor Fran Townsend were also present.
In the course of the video conference, Bush formally instructed the CIA, the FBI and Homeland Security to "take all actions that might be necessary". Essentially, what this implies is that Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has been given the green light to increase the terror alert level, in consultation with his FBI and CIA counterparts. Later in the day, Tom Ridge clarified that he did not see the need for changing the terror alert level: "there is no specific intelligence that targets election day, polling places and the like," he said. (AP, 30 October 2004).
While the administration confirmed that there is "no actionable intelligence" which would justify increasing the threat level to Orange, the DHS, sent a memo that same Friday evening (Oct 29) following the videoconference, to local and state officials warning them that the administration "cannot discount the possibility that the video may be intended to promote violence or serve as a signal for an attack." (quoted in Washington Post, 31 October 2004)
It is worth recalling that New York City, Northern New Jersey and Washington DC are presently on Orange Code high risk alert (since August 1st), the rest of the country is on yellow. In other words, HSD Sec Tom Ridge had already set the stage on August 1st, when he raised the terror alert level in these three selected urban areas. (see our analysis below)
While the election will no doubt proceed as planned, the Osama statement will be used to trigger an atmosphere of fear and intimidation on election day. Moreover, as suggested by Michael Kane in a recent article , several Election Day 'Terror Drills" held under FEMA and State and Municipal auspices have already been envisaged. ( http://www.legitgov.org/essay_kane_fema_terror_drill_102904.html )
In other words, the Osama tape will most likely trigger routine police and security operations under the existing Orange alert in NYC, Washington DC and northern New Jersey, in accordance with HSD guidelines. Elsewhere around the country, we can expect various responses and initiatives by State and municipal police authorities, who have already been briefed by the HSD. Moreover, despite Tom Ridge's October 30 statement, there is nothing which prevents the HSD from raising the alert level to Orange in selected cities across the country, in coordination with the FBI and local police authorities. Moreover, there is nothing which prevents local police authorities from "taking the law in their own hands".
In other words, the likely scenario (i.e. hidden agenda) is that the election will proceed as planned, but in an atmosphere of fear and chaos.
The news tabloids are already plastered with "Osama Threatens America" stories.
According to CNN, 'He's sending a message to the American people...America could be attacked again. ...'. In other words, the threat of an Al Qaeda attack, will be used to implement road blocks, FBI raids on presumed terrorists, ethnic profiling and security checks on "suspicious individuals", intimidation at voting booths, etc.
In fact, this scenario is already underway in the so-called swing states. Greg Palast has reported on a secret GOP Plan to disrupt voting in Florida, Other reports suggest that the Florida absentee voting process has already been rigged. The Diebold electronic voting system is rigged. It does not leave a paper trail. (See E-Democracy: Stealing the Election in 2004 by Steve Moore, http://globalresearch.ca/articles/MOO407A.html ) The NAACP reports that plans are underway in several states to suppress the African-American Vote . Jeb Bush will mobilize State police in Florida. A similar course could be followed under governor Schwarzenegger in California.
With regard to the election campaign, the Osama tape has set the stage for the scripting of Bush's speeches, public appearances and press conferences in the final days of the campaign trail. It has usefully served to distract public opinion from the other election issues: jobs, access to health care, education, women's rights, affirmative action and of course Iraq.
The issue, however, is not whether the Osama tape will favor Bush or Kerry in the last few days on the campaign trail.
The hidden agenda underlying the Osama videotape is to instill fear and disrupt the election process, creating an atmosphere which further facilitates electoral fraud and voting irregularities.
It is the chaos created by the terror threat which the Bush people are betting on.
Northern Command: Will the Military Intervene?
At the same time there is something far more disturbing.
A major shift in command structures was announced at Northern Command (NORTHCOM) on October 29th, four days before the November 2 elections. This change coincides chronologically with the release of the Osama tape and the green light communicated by President Bush on October 30th to the HSD, FBI, CIA and Justice Department, as well as to local and State government bodies (via the HSD).
On the 29th of October, NORTHCOM Commander Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart, was assigned "full responsibility" by president Bush, in the case of a national emergency or terror attack:
Until the Oct. 1, 2002, activation of U.S. Northern Command, "there was no single officer the president could put his finger on" to assign the responsibility for homeland defense and supporting civil authorities in the event of an attack, a senior U.S. military officer said here today.[October 29th]
Today [29 October], Air Force Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart, NORTHCOM commander, fulfills that responsibility, noted Air Force Brig. Gen. Lloyd E. Dodd, ...
(for further details see http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Oct2004/n10292004_2004102905.html
What was the urgency of this far-reaching decision, while the president and the vice president were busy on the campaign trail? Why the shift in command structure, four days before a presidential election, at a time when according to HSD Sec. Tom Ridge, there was no "actionable intelligence", which indicated that the Nation was under threat?
What the NORTHCOM press dispatch dated Oct 29 suggests is that the guidelines transmitted by President Bush in his videoconference, had already been sent out, via the Pentagon, to NORTHCOM. Moreover, a direct line of command had been established between the Commander in Chief and the NORTHCOM Commander which could be used at the President's discretion to order the intervention of NORTHCOM in the case of a presumed terror attack.
The Osama Tape: "Osama Threatens America"
In a carefully scripted text, described as "Osama's address to the American people", bin Laden admits for the first time that he personally ordered the Sept. 11 attacks:
"We decided to destroy [the WTC] towers in America... God knows that it had not occurred to our mind to attack the towers, but after our patience ran out and we saw the injustice and inflexibility of the American-Israeli alliance toward our people in Palestine and Lebanon, this came to my mind...
Oh American people, my talk to you is about the best way to avoid another Manhattan, about the war, its causes, and results...
I am amazed at you. Although almost four years have passed since the [11 September] incidents, Bush is still practising distortion and confusion.
He also continues to conceal from you the real reason [for the 11 September attacks]. Thus, the motives still exist for repeating what happened.
I will speak to you about the reasons behind these incidents. I will honestly tell you about the minutes in which the decision was made so that you will consider. I say to you that God knows that the idea of striking the towers never occurred to us.
Your security is in your own hands
But, after things had gone too far and we saw the injustice of the US-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, I started thinking of that.
The events that influenced me directly trace back to 1982 and subsequent events when the United States gave permission to the Israelis to invade Lebanon, with the aid of the sixth US fleet.
At those difficult moments, many meanings that are hard to describe went on in my mind. However, these meanings produced an overwhelming feeling to reject injustice and generated a strong determination to punish the unjust ones.
While I was looking at those destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me to punish the unjust one in a similar manner by destroying towers in the United States so that it would feel some of what we felt and to be deterred from killing our children and women...
We had agreed with the chief amir [leader - of the 11 September hijackers] Mohammed Atta that he should accomplish all the operations within 20 minutes before Bush and his administration could take notice.
It never occurred to us that the supreme commander of the US armed forces would leave 50,000 of his citizens in the two towers to face those great horrors alone, at a time when they needed him badly.
This is because it seemed to him that being preoccupied with the little child's talk about her goat and its butting was more important than being preoccupied with the planes and their ramming into the skyscrapers.
This gave with three times the period required for carrying out the operations, praise be to God.
Your security does not lie in the hands of Kerry, Bush, or al-Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands. Each and every state that does not tamper with our security will have automatically assured its own security." (quoted in BBC, 30 Oct 2004, excerpts, emphasis added)
Is the tape authentic? Why should we be skeptical?
First, the tape sustains the illusion of an "outside enemy", when in fact it is known and documented that Osama bin Laden is a US sponsored intelligence asset. Al Qaeda is an instrument of the US intelligence apparatus.
(see Who is Osama bin Laden, by Michel Chossudovsky, September 2001, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO109C.html )
Second, several members of the Bush administration were the architects of Al Qaeda, going back to the Soviet-Afghan war and the Iran Contra scandal. (See http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO111A.html , see also http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO308C.html , on Iran Contra see http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO303D.html )
Third, the whereabouts of Osama are known. Kerry accuses Bush of letting Bin Laden escape, "As I have said for two years now, when Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were cornered in the mountains of Tora Bora, it was wrong to outsource the job of capturing them to Afghan warlords," said Kerry on the campaign trail. Red Herring. One day before the 9/11 attacks, Osama was hospitalized in a military hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, courtesy of America's ally, Pakistan. This is confirmed by a CBS News Report with Dan Rather.
(See Administration knew the Whereabouts of Osama by Michel Chossudovsky, 16 November 2003 http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO311A.html , See also http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/RIC111B.html )
The tape has all the appearances of a covert intelligence operation. The videotape is carefully scripted as an "Osama address to the American people". It contains very explicit references to the 9/11 attacks. It is full of catch phrases: striking the towers, Manhattan, etc.
In fact the video came replete with an English-language translation and transcript, when it was sent to Al Jazeera. Who wrote it? Who translated it?
In a TV interview on Larry King Live, veteran (retired) CBS anchorman, Walter Cronkite, intimated that Bush political strategist Karl Rove was behind the tape:
CRONKITE: What we just heard. So now the question is basically right now, how will this affect the election? And I have a feeling that it could tilt the election a bit. In fact, I'm a little inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a very clever man, he probably set up bin Laden to this thing.... (CNN, Larry King Live, 29 Oct 2004)
Of course none of this is analyzed by the US media.
Supported by the corporate media, the hidden agenda is to bring Osama to the forefront of the election campaign. Moreover, it serves to give a face to the outside enemy in the days leading up to the election.
It distracts from the war in Iraq and the deaths of more than 100,000 civilians. (see http://globalresearch.ca/articles/LAN410A.html )
It upholds the bi-partisan pre-emptive war doctrine.
It prepares public opinion for the post-election period. Irrespective of who actually wins the election, the war agenda prevails unscathed. Moreover, the tendency in the US after the elections is towards the further militarisation of civilian institutions.
Needless to say, with law suits directed against Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney by the 9/11 families, the tape is also meant to "set the record straight" and dispel doubts (in a totally unconvincing way) that senior Bush officials might have played a behind the scenes role in the planning of 9/11. In other words, the Osama tape, which acknowledges bin Laden's personal responsibility in the 911 attacks, is a blow to the 9/11 truth movement.
The disinformation campaign is supported by both parties (which integrated the bipartisan Joint-Senate 9/11 inquiry as well as the 9/11 Commission).
Both Republicans and Democrats are complicit in the 911 cover-up. They have accepted not to accuse one another of having links to Al Qaeda. In fact every single administration since Jimmy Carter has supported and abetted the Islamic terror network. And Kerry knows all the facts on the links of the Neocons to Al Qaeda since he himself was actively involved in the Senate BCCI and Iran-Contra inquiries.
In turn, the Republicans know about Clinton's links to the Islamic Militant Network in the Balkans, as confirmed by a report emanating from the Republican Party Committee of the US Senate.
( http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO110A.html See Republicans accused Clinton of collaborating with bin laden, 1997 Congressional document, http://globalresearch.ca/articles/DCH109A.html
The Disinformation Campaign. Who is behind it?
The release of the Osama tape must be analyzed in relation to the string of disinformation operations launched since September 2001.
Underlying these orange code terror alerts, "intelligence" has been presented by the Bush Administration to the effect that Al Qaeda is preparing a terror attack on America, that there are "credible" sources which confirm that the Homeland is threatened.
In assessing the "authenticity" of the October 29 Osama videotape, it is important to understand the pattern of previous terror alerts.
What we are dealing with is a well structured disinformation campaign. The latter, however, is not watertight: out of the six high profile terror alerts since September 11, 2001, there is evidence from police and/or intelligence sources that in three cases, the "actionable intelligence" was fabricated.
We can refer in this regard to the February 7, 2003 terror alert following Colin Powell's flopped WMD presentation to the United Nations Security Council, the Christmas 2003 terror alert and the August 1st 2004 Code Orange alert, all three of which proved to be based on phony intelligence.
(For further details, see: The Criminalization of the State, by Michel Chossudovsky, February 2004, http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO402A.html , and Bush's Christmas Terror Alert by Michel Chossudovsky, 24 December 2003 : http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO312D.html )
It is worth noting that the release of the Osama tape was preceded by two key events:
On July 8 2004, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge stated in very explicit terms that:
"... Credible reporting indicates that Al Qaeda is moving forward with its plans to carry out a large-scale attack in the United States in an effort to disrupt our democratic process... This is sobering information about those who wish to do us harm... But every day we strengthen the security of our nation." (Quoted in AP, 8 July 2004)
Coincidence? Barely a few days before Ridge's announcement on July 8, Northern Command was put "at a high level of readiness" implying the (routine, we were told) deployment of jet fighters over major cities as well as the posting of troops at key locations. (Atlantic Journal and Constitution, 3 July 2004).
While no decision was taken by HSD Secretary Tom Ridge based on these "credible" reports, the July 8 decision, so to speak has set the stage.
July 29- August 1st 2004
Three weeks later on July 29th, within hours of John Kerry's acceptance speech at the Democratic convention, a decision was taken at CIA headquarters at Langley to launch a code orange terror alert in New York City, Washington DC and northern New Jersey.
Both the official account as well as the press reports confirm that the decision was taken prior to the examination of relevant intelligence. On July 30th, President Bush approved the decision of the CIA to raise "the threat level" in the absence of "specific" supporting intelligence. The formal decision to increase the threat level was made public on August 1st by Sec Tom Ridge. In his August 1 statement, he pointed authoritatively to "specific credible information" from multiple sources.
(see http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO408A.html )
As we go to press:
The Bush administration --while reassuring public opinion-- has also "warned state and local officials that the tape may be intended to promote or signal an attack." What this does is to give a de facto carte blanche to local authorities to respond as they see fit.
Bush has centered on the Osama tape, in all his public appearances, while Kerry has attempted to emphasize domestic social and economic issues.
"The terrorists who killed thousands of innocent people are still dangerous and they are determined," said Bush on the campaign trail.
Meanwhile, the war in Iraq has been shoved to the background. It has been overshadowed by Osama. It is no longer an election issue.
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